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THE    CHRISTIAN   AND    HISTORICAL    STUDr

at this point in the argument it is possibly unfortunate
if the student of history ever ceases to regard himself as
essentially an enquirer. Nothing so hardens the mind
as an attachment to a particular reconstruction pf
history which we may have motive for cherishing because
it establishes a case. It is true that the mere yearning
for historical comprehension has sometimes seemed to
be an insufficient motor for the mind, and has left
scholarship lacking in one way or another until (as
Lord Acton once pointed out) sheer polemical passion
has brought a relevant fact to men's attention or has
driven a violent partisan to an original piece of exposi-
tion. A Christian writer who possessed such polemical
fervour might call attention to something which previous
historians had overlooked. If he established his case
the matter would become a constituent of historical
scholarship in general, however; it would no Conger
be the mark of a specifically Christian view of the past

It would perhaps be regarded as legitimate to
envisage the history of Europe as the story of a civilisa-
tion which developed under the presidency of the
Church and which for many centuries bore an un-
mistakably Christian stamp. It would be necessary to
be very cautious, however, in any attempt to make
polemical use of this particular formulation, of the
narrative. In other societies and other regions there
have been other religions which have presided over the
development of a civilisation; and sometimes the
parallels, as in the case of Islam, are very remarkable.
If we may infer that at certain stages in the development
of a civilisation religion can have a presiding role in the

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